As the 49ers Announce the Switch from Jimmy G to Trey Lance, a Rival Coach Calls it 'an Early Christmas Present'
In the least surprising announcements in the long, inglorious history of influential men sitting in front of a backdrop saying serious words into microphones, John Lynch and Kyle Shanahan have finally stated the painfully obvious. They've given up the ghost on this charade of pretending they packaged three first round picks to draft Trey Lance because they think he's a perfect system fit for their backup quarterback role. And the corollary to that fiction: They're super impressed with Jimmy Garoppolo, satisfied with his durability, think he's only begun to scratch the surface of how far he can take their team, and they're perfectly content to keep him and his $25 million drain on their budget around until he retires.
As a matter of fact, the least surprising part of this whole dynamic is that it took until the start of camp for it to happen. Camp in 2022 for that matter. Personally I saw no way they'd keep Jimmy G around as a lame duck to impede Lance's progress last year. It made no sense to me that anyone would spend a pirate's treasure in draft capital to get a QB only to treat him like a project. But I was wrong. That turned out to be their plan. They were only too happy to piss 20% of Lance's rookie deal away to let him hold a Microsoft Surface while their QB1 in Super Bowl LIV was a dead man walking. Go figure.
Anyway, this switch to Lance is probably good news to 49ers fans, by and large. Personally, I've been on Team Jimmy. And prior to Mac Jones being gifted to me courtesy of the first 14 selections in the 2021 draft, Garoppolo would've been my choice to fill the GOAT-shaped hole in my heart. But that's just me. The people of San Francisco have spoken. And they're getting what they've wished for.
Unfortunately for them, this is what some people around the NFL have wished for too:
Source - A coach whose team will face off against the 49ers this season told The Athletic’s Mike Sando that Christmas will come early this year if San Francisco trades Garoppolo, thus opting to start Lance.
“That would be like my early Christmas present if they just get rid of Jimmy, so that way he can’t play for them, and then make Trey be your guy,” the coach said. ...
When Lance was on the field, he threw for 603 yards and five touchdowns against two interceptions, in addition to 168 yards and a rushing touchdown. Despite showcasing his legs and athleticism, issues arose surrounding the quarterback’s arm accuracy – he completed just 57.7 percent of his throws.
These concerns were further enlarged by Colin Cowherd and Mike Silver, who earlier this month claimed a source revealed that Lance suffers from arm fatigue and his passing leaves much to be desired from his coaches.
Damn, that is cold. And, one can argue, unfair to Lance. But coaches are notoriously selfish creatures who by their nature only want what is in their own best interests. And if this one regards this announcement today like presents under a pine tree in your living room and morning-drinking spiked egg nog, it can only mean it's because he benefits from not having to face Garoppolo.
And it's hard to blame anyone for thinking that way. The man has a 33-14 career record, 4-2 in the postseason. So someone out there is sick of losing to the guy, so if today feels to him like passing out in front of the Pottersville sequence of It's a Wonderful Life, you can't really blame him.
What fate awaits Garoppolo remains to be seen. All we know for sure is that he'll be handsome in some other market soon. And that Niners have painted themselves into a corner and created a buyer's market on the guy they gave up a second rounder to get in 2017. Now they'll be lucky to get a sixth for the goods they themselves damaged with move up to get Lance. And regardless of how you feel about either QB, it's going to be yet another fascinating subplot year comparing the two to see if Lynch and Shanahan's massive gamble paid off. They've either proven they're bold risk takers who are willing to bet on their own genius, or they've just committed career suicide. And one NFL coach thinks it's the latter. Stay tuned. It's going to be wild.